Green Guide Profile: Emeriane Avocats


Emeriane Acocats in France supports businesses in the creation of sustainable business models, assisting with the design, structuring and implementation of transformation projects. It is also well-versed in handling CSR and ESG audits, and has expertise in sustainable finance matters. 

Its current workload includes advising Neoen, a French renewable energy producer, on corporate governance matters, in addition to advising Unbottled, a plastic-free cosmetics brand, on its adoption of “société à mission” objectives and in implementing a “comité de mission”. It has also been advising Arianee on upcoming green deal regulations concerning its digital passport. Practice co-founders Eole Rapone and Juliane Dessard Jacques lead on these matters, outside of which they regularly contribute to thought leadership, publishing various studies on sustainability.

The firm also contributes to sustainability seminars and workshops whilst taking active steps to comply with the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact and improve its internal practices through implementing energy and waste-reducing strategies and other carbon footprint reduction measures.

  • Before cofounding Emeriane Avocats, Juliane Dessard Jacques and Eole Rapone worked at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP for eight and seven years respectively, where they were primarily involved in the structuring and implementation of mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, and capital markets transactions often cross-border. Convinced that the transition to sustainable and resilient growth is a source of value creation, they advise entrepreneurs and companies by providing innovative solutions to optimize their performance over the mid and long term. They also assists companies from all business sectors in their strategic decisions to consider their social and environmental impacts and to incorporate CSR and ESG matters into their policies.


  • Nicolas Degardin also spent 8 years at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in the litigation and arbitration team, where he specialized in the resolution of a wide range of complex and strategic business law disputes (corporate, commercial, stock market, financial and white-collar criminal matters). Because managing the litigation risk is increasingly essential and strategic in a French and European legal and regulatory environment that is undergoing profound change, Nicolas also assists his clients to take account of new environmental, social and governance requirements. While these represent challenges for corporate responsibility and reputation, they also represent opportunities for development and more sustainable growth.


  • Elisa Lirot joined Emeriane Avocats after having spent two years with an international law firm in France, where she was involved in structuring and implementing private equity and M&A transactions and advised listed companies on corporate governance issues. Convinced that corporate growth can no longer be viewed in isolation but must be part of a sustainable context that considers today’s social, societal, and environmental challenges, Elisa joined Emeriane Avocats to help companies integrate these issues into their growth strategy. She also advises them on the various legal issues linked to their corporate life and/or structuring operations.

Emeriane Avocats is a business law firm committed to the transition to a sustainable economy. It has developed a unique, distinctive and pioneering positioning in the business law market, being the first “société à mission” (French equivalent of a benefit corporation) business law firm.

Convinced that transitioning to a more resilient and sustainable business model offers value creation opportunities, Emeriane Avocats is best known for providing to its clients a strategic vision and innovative solutions in terms of, inter alia, CSR and ESG matters.

Has your firm established a dedicated ESG/climate change/sustainability practice, team or task force?

Emeriane Avocats was founded based on the strong conviction that business law can no longer be practiced independently from ESG, climate change or sustainability considerations. Therefore, the entire team at Emeriane Avocats is focused on helping its clients to improve their environmental impacts as well as their social, human rights and governance factors. The scope of intervention of the firm also includes pre-litigations and litigations relating to these topics.

What type of work do you handle in connection with “green change”?

Emeriane Avocats is advising its clients in the following matters:

  • CSR & ESG Audits and Implementation Plans: Emeriane Avocats provides tailor-made advice from compliance audits to the implementation of innovative practices (e.g. (i) set up and operational implementation of CSR policies; (ii) review and improvement of sustainability reporting; (iii) set up and review of vigilance plans to monitor and prevent human, social and environmental risks; (iv) legal implementation of ESG criteria; and (v) train legal teams on fast changing CSR legal framework)
  • Corporate Governance: Emeriane Avocats advises its clients in structuring new forms of corporate governance to strike the right balance between the various stakeholders and improve the purpose of the company, its strategy and missions (e.g. (i) board composition and balance; (ii) board decisions taking into consideration ESG impacts and potential liability of the directors; (iii) inclusion of an underlying corporate purpose in the by-laws (“raison d’être”); and (iv) set up of French equivalent of a benefit corporation (“société à mission”))
  • Stakeholders: Emeriane Avocats advises its clients in their strategy for optimizing shareholder dialogue, improving employees’ involvement in corporate governance and monitoring their relationship with business partners (e.g. (i) ensuring the relationships with proxy advisors and the dialogue with employees; and (ii) setting up ethic codes and responsible purchasing policies and best practices in terms of traceability and transparency)
  • Ethics & Compliance: Emeriane Avocats advises its clients in complying with the various and rapidly evolving requirements related to business ethics, transparency and integrity of economic activities (e.g. compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation; set up and review of (i) whistleblowers internal policies; or (ii) anticorruption procedures, including the so-called “Sapin 2” anticorruption program)
  • Sustainable Finance: Emeriane Avocats also provides its expertise in the implementation of alternative financing for starts-ups, SMEs and mid-cap companies (e.g. (i) advising on green financing, crowdfunding platforms, impact investing); and (ii) advising management companies, funds, and investors willing to generate positive social or environmental impacts along with financial return.
  • Sustainability related Litigations: Emeriane Avocats helps its clients navigate litigation risks in connection with CSR issues such as corporate sustainability obligations, environmental claims, greenwashing and misleading business practices.

Would you like to highlight a particular area of strength?

  • Emeriane Avocats was a pioneer in helping companies becoming “société à mission” (French equivalent of a benefit corporation) and implementing related specific governance structures. By supporting companies in this process, Emeriane Avocats played a key role in helping them to formalize their CSR initiatives and objectives, integrate them into their business model and rally around them their shareholders and stakeholders that have collectively and actively participate to their definition.
  • Emeriane Avocats is increasingly advising its clients in improving their sustainability efforts through audits and recommendations resulting from such work, especially in light of the very recent implementation by France of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) which requires mandatory ESG disclosure by an increasing number of companies. For companies that were not subject to any ESG disclosure so far, this new set of rules and requirements is a big challenge that requires the support of dedicated advisors to help them understand, in particular, the applicable legal framework, the scope of obligations or the nature of sustainability information that is expected to be reported and that will be verified by independent auditors.

Has your firm implemented any internal best practises?

Emeriane Avocats has taken several practical steps to reduce its environmental footprint and promote sustainable development:

  • Emphasis on CSR issues and sustainable development goals in advising its clients
  • Steps taken to completely digitalize its activities with dematerialization of documents and strict limitations on paper printing
  • Internal procedures to reduce its energy consumption
  • Attention driven to waste reduction, recycling and upcycling
  • Use of means of transportation that are helping to reduce its carbon footprint
  • Strict limitation on disposable/single-use products

Also, convinced that human beings must be placed at the heart of labor relations, Emeriane Avocats promotes best practices and the following values internally: diversity, fight against any discrimination, equal treatment and opportunities, gender balance, workplace wellness and balance between work and private life.

Has your firm joined any external ESG-related projects, networks, or initiatives?

Emeriane Avocats has applied for membership to Global Compact France, a network bringing together thousands of companies and associations to tackle challenges related to CSR and sustainable development. Emeriane Avocats complies with the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption. Emeriane Avocats undertakes to support and promote the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Emeriane Avocats is a member of the “Communauté des Enterprises à mission”, a French association built on the conviction that companies have an essential role to play in resolving the social and environmental challenges of the 21st century.

What are your firm’s ESG-related goals?

Emeriane Avocats became a “société à mission” (French equivalent of a benefit corporation), having included the following corporate purpose (or “raison d’être”) in its articles of association as from its incorporation: “Determined to play an active role in the transition to a sustainable and resilient economy, Emeriane Avocats designs, structures and implements its clients’ development and transformation projects, placing people at the heart of its organization and its vision of the law”.

The mission pursued by Emeriane Avocats as “société à mission” is expressed through different social and environmental objectives also included in its articles of association. As example, an objective of Emeriane Avocats is to raise awareness among its stakeholders and supporting groups and associations working to preserve the environment and build a more inclusive society.

In addition, to ensure that each objective can be tracked and measured, the objectives are broken down into several operational initiatives and actions.

Emeriane Avocats’ ESG-related goals and commitments are reflected not only in its activities and internal organization but also in the matters handled by the firm (notably by the representation of companies involved in projects pursuing sustainable development objectives or “mission native” companies). It ensures the commitment of the firm and all its members and consistency between the firm’s strategy and its social and environmental objectives.

Is your firm involved in any relevant pro bono work?

Emeriane Avocats provides pro bono legal expertise to selected non-profit entities that have a positive social or environmental impact or that fight against discriminations.

In addition, 5% of Emeriane Avocats’ annual income is allocated to support charities or organizations aligned with the firm’s social and environmental objectives. In 2023, the firm’s support went to Fondation Le Refuge (temporary accommodation and support for LGBT+ young people) and Aide aux Jeunes Diabétiques (AJD) (a charity that supports, defends, and informs young diabetics and their families).

Is your firm involved in any public outreach or client education?

Emeriane Avocats’ co-founding partners are lecturers at Sciences Po in Paris and in charge of a seminar entitled “Corporate law and transition to a sustainable economy” (Ecole de Droit, final year of master’s program).

Emeriane Avocats has also taken part in different seminars on sustainability matters (Wharton Club de France, Bpifrance, Makesense, Entrepreneurs pour la Planète, Moment of Impact).

Emeriane Avocats is also giving training sessions and presentation on ESG matters to board members or members of legal departments of companies.

Have there been any recent non-confidential stand-out matters that were particularly innovative, pioneering, or complex?

  • Emeriane Avocats advised internally Neoen (France’s leading independent producer of exclusively renewable energies listed on Euronext Paris) on corporate governance matters and in connection with its €650 million share capital increase.
  • Emeriane Avocats advised Arianee (a French leader in the Web3 industry providing NFTs for traceability) with respect to upcoming Eco-design EU regulation on digital product passport to promote a more circular economy.
  • Emeriane Avocats advised Unbottled (a French company committed to natural and plastic-free cosmetics) in becoming “société à mission” (French equivalent of a benefit corporation), helping it to define its corporate purpose (“raison d’être”), its environmental and social objectives and in implementing a “comité de mission” (ad hoc committee in charge of following the progress of the mission).
  • Emeriane Avocats advised Lola Health (a French neo-insurance company with the ambition of making health insurance more inclusive) in the context of its fundraising led by Bpifrance and Plug and Play.

When did ESG, climate change and/or sustainability become an area of focus at your firm?

Sustainability is in the DNA of Emeriane Avocats: combining sustainability matters with business law was the reason why the firm was founded. Emeriane Avocats’ co-founders had the strong conviction that business law could no longer be practiced independently from ESG, climate change or sustainability considerations. They wanted to merge such practices to have a full expertise and vision on these increasing stakes for companies that are requiring the assistance of experts on these multidimensional topics.

What has driven your firm’s involvement in a green transition? (Client demand? Business case? Personal attitudes/beliefs/initiatives?)

The personal conviction of Emeriane Avocats’ co-founders is the main factor in the creation of a firm dedicated to the promotion of sustainable growth and convinced that constraints and challenges can lead to value-creating opportunities.

These personal beliefs are also the fruit of their personal and professional journey, witnessing a lot of profound socio economic and environmental changes requiring the development of appropriate expertise that goes beyond business law as CSR matters are cross-disciplinary.

Do you have any strategic plans to expand your work or your initiatives in this area in the future?

As the regulatory framework on ESG matters is growing and expanding (Taxonomy, CSRD, CS3D, SFDR…), clients are requiring some training and guidance to better understand a lengthy and complex set of rules. In particular, they require clarity on the scope of their obligations (especially in case of international groups) and are looking for pragmatic answers to implement the steps and process required to comply with such regulations. In this respect, Emeriane Avocats is strengthening its support to its clients and, for instance, provides training sessions and workshops with board members, top management or legal team members to help them grasp the main features and obligations for their companies deriving from the European Green Deal.

Emeriane Avocats has recently welcomed Nicolas Degardin, as partner, to develop the prelitigation and litigation practice of the firm. Emeriane Avocats develops an expertise in connection with greenwashing claims, misleading sustainability information claims or breach of duty of vigilance claims and other CSR related litigation.

Where do you see the future of ESG/sustainability in the legal community (both in terms of legal offerings and firms’ best practices)?

Faced with today’s environmental and social challenges, law firms have a big part to play within their own organization but also in advising their clients and developing custom made legal offerings.

With respect to the need for legal firms to adopt best CSR practices, the implementation of CSRD and the requirement for companies to report sustainability information on their value chain will mechanically push and pressure law firms that are part of such value chain to improve their internal CSR practices.

With regard to the legal offerings, as CSR matters are becoming key factors in the decision-making process of clients, it will require all law firms to become familiar with sustainability topics and develop cross-disciplinary expertise to adequately answer clients evolving needs and requests. In addition, with the development of new set of rules and an increasing scrutiny from stakeholders, CSR related issues become a growing concern for companies who will require experts in prelitigation and litigation to assist them in defending or initiating claims relating to, for instance, greenwashing, misleading sustainability information or breach of duty of vigilance.


Emeriane Avocats’ article on say on climate has been mentioned by the French financial market’s authority (the AMF – Autorité des marches financiers) in its 2022 annual report on corporate governance and cited in different articles on corporate governance matters. Emeriane Avocats’ article on CSRD has also been cited in legal articles related to this topic.